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Investigating the In-Between: Multisensory Integration of Auditory and Visual Motion Streams

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For more content, see Multisensory Research and Spatial Vision.

We investigated audiovisual interactions in motion perception by behavioral experiments testing both, the influence of visual stimuli on auditory apparent motion and the influence of auditory stimuli on visual apparent motion perception. A set of loudspeakers with an LED mounted in the middle of each speaker cone was arranged in a semicircle. Apparent motion streams were presented for each modality alone in the unimodal conditions. In the bimodal conditions, stimuli of the second modality were added to fill the temporal and spatial gaps of the sampled trajectory of the reference stream. The participants’ task was to observe the quasi-naturalistic stimulus sequences and to perform a standard classification. The addition of stimuli of the second modality indeed facilitated apparent motion perception. Bimodal presentation increased the upper temporal interval up to which the stimuli could be separated in time while still being perceived as continuous motion. We interpret these results as evidence for an ecologically advantageous audiovisual motion integration mechanism which operates beyond the constraints of strict spatiotemporal coincidence. Functional considerations suggest that this mechanism may represent an amodal stage suited for the processing of both unimodal and bimodal signals.

Affiliations: 1: Institute of Brain Research - Human Neurobiology, Bremen University, Hochschulring 18, Bremen, Germany; 2: Cognitive Neuroinformatics, Bremen University, Enrique-Schmidt-Straße 5, Bremen, Germany


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